MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23: Devin Leary #13 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack warms up prior to the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23: Devin Leary #13 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack warms up prior to the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Devin Leary Is Not A First-Round NFL Draft Prospect

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Devin Leary is an interesting prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, and several major platforms have put a first-round grade on him.

Pro Football Network (No. 16), CBS (No. 20), 247Sports (No. 25), Sports Illustrated (No. 31) and Pro Football Focus (No. 31) overall put a big grade on this N.C. State quarterback (QB).

However, I believe Leary has not shown he has what it takes to be a first-round pick.

The reason?

He is too inconsistent for my tastes.

I saw a comparison to QB Drew Brees…not a chance.

Leary has playmaking ability

Despite being too inconsistent in a number of areas, the number one thing I did like about him is his playmaking ability.

Leary is a gunslinger who can make things happen, especially when it gets unscripted.

In these situations, he can move around, and by doing so, create more downfield route leverage and larger throwing windows.

He gets better the more he can dictate to defenses.

Leary is a winner

Finding demonstrated winners is another important trait when looking at NFL prospects.

In 2020, Leary won 3/4 games and in 2021 he won 9/12 games.

One of those wins in 2021 was in overtime over #9 ranked Clemson.

Leary has a winning track record at N.C. State.

What’s the problem then?

Playing QB does not look to be second-nature for Leary.

He vacillates between throwing with natural touch and then at other times, he relies too much on his mechanics when throwing.

It almost looks like he doesn’t trust himself and he overthinks it at times. It’s like watching two different QB’s throw.

When he relies on his mechanics, it looks like he is trying to aim and steer the ball too much, which leads to his ball placement not being where it needs to be.

Half the time it looked great, and the other half of the time it looked awful.

It’s literally all or nothing with his downfield ball placement, and that is one of the most important things when it comes to selecting a QB.

Ball placement is different than completion percentage. Ball placement is the ability to throw and put the ball exactly where it needs to be downfield, giving receivers the best chance to pick up additional yardage after the catch.

Leary did not hit many receivers in stride in this documented film study.

#13 Devin Leary 6-foot-1, 215 pounds

Daniel Kelly Grade: Fourth-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First-Round Mock Big Board: QB13

Projected by 10.7% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of September 10, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: Miami, Louisiana Tech and FSU (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation).

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 283/481 (65.7%) 3,433 yards (8.0 avg.), 35 TD, 5 INT.

NFL comparable: Danny Kanell

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

A tough poised and competitive passer with inconsistent placement and an average NFL arm. Plays out of shotgun and shows excellent ball handling/play-action skills. Good feel for the rush. Inconsistent getting the ball out on time. Tends to hold the ball too long, and hesitate, which puts him in position to have to bail out of the pocket. Has some Houdini to him as he can dodge, move around and make a defender miss. Attempts not to take sacks (2021: 25) and yardage losses. Looks like he is reading defenses downfield. Carries the ball high up against his chest in the pocket and his throwing motion looks too mechanical. Does not have the arm for the intermediate to deep levels in the NFL. Because of reliance on mechanics, tends to lock in and receivers are just standing waiting for passes. Best throwing short range. Doesn’t take stupid chances with the ball. Not much of a runner. Decent back-up at the next level because of how competitive he is, how he protects the ball and because of his playmaking ability.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Does his downfield ball placement look better?
  2. Does he look mechanical and robotic throwing?
  3. Does his arm look stronger?
  4. Does he still hold the ball too long at times in the pocket?

Leary reminds me of QB Zach Wilson when he was at BYU. He looked great until it comes time to throw the ball downfield.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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